A Life of Gratitude

It’s quite easy to be negative. Sometimes it seems that more and more people are becoming that way all around me. I feel it’s like a virus that slowly creeps upon me, ready to invade all the parts of me trying to stay as positive as I can with what I go through pain-wise everyday.

For most of my life I was a negative person. I saw the sky as always full of clouds regardless if it was a sunny day or not. The slightest thing would turn a great day into a horrible one. And I criticized just about everything in my daily conversations with anyone.

I’ve really worked hard on this, and I do my best today to keep my distance from those who are like I once was. I’ve learned that the more I spend time around those that are highly negative, the more I start to become like them as well. On my recent vacation, I was on a cruise where it was apparent to my partner and I that the ship had an abundance of negativity present. During a massage that I splurged for, the masseuse commented similarly saying that the rest of the spa practictioners were noticing it as well.

It’s hard for me to fathom why there was so much negativity present in the first place. Just being on a ship in the carribean with sunny 80 degree days, having meals served to me in several courses daily, and having a room steward to clean up after me is more than most people will ever experience in their lifetime. My cruise stopped at five different islands in the carribean. At each island, I spent time on some exotic beach while the rest of the people I knew back home were dealing with another 24 inches of snow dropping and freezing cold weather while they went to work.

With the transition I’m going through to become a more God-centered individual, I have tried on every level to remain grateful for what I have in my life. For most of my life prior to the past few years, I was probably like the vast majority of the complainers on the ship I just sailed on. Spending a lot of money on a vacation in the past would raise the bar level for me on what I felt like I deserved. My expectations became higher and at the same time so did my dissastisfactions. It made me wonder if that was what was happening on my cruise. During it,  I noticed that when I spent time talking to people around the ship that were criticizing it or anything else for that matter, that I slipped into my old behaviors and became just as critical.

I’ve had more in my life than what 90 percent of the world’s population may ever see. I’ve been to places most never will be able to afford to go to. I’ve dined out at many four and five star restaurants when so many are starving to death somewhere in the world.  I’ve lived in homes that many homeless people would dream of living in. I’ve owned possessions such as cars or other gadgets that are considered luxuries and unobtainable to most families. And up until a few years ago, I was completely and utterly ungrateful for what I had and what I was still able to do. Over the past year, I’ve prayed to God to become more grateful on every level and in every area of my life. I write every night in a journal at least nine things that I’m grateful for in the day that has just passed. And I thank God verbally each and every moment when I’m experiencing something that I know most people might never be able to see or do or buy or own, in their entire lifetime.

Being on a cruise and having gourmet meals, visiting beautiful islands, and even just being able to take a vacation like that is something I’m extremely grateful to God for today. While the ship may have been full of negative people, there was one who was doing his best to focus on what was good and wonderful, than what was lacking and frustrating. I had my downfalls at moments during my vacation, but all in all, I was more positive than negative than any other time I’ve travelled in the past. I only have God to thank for that. I know the more I strive to be a God-centered individual, the more I will remain grateful in my life for all of what I have and all of what I experience.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson